The Foreign Minister of Nepal Pradeep Kumar Gyawali paid a 3-day visit to India from January 14-16, 2021. Gyawali is the senior-most political leader from Nepal to visit India after the Border row between the two nations in 2020.
i.In 2020, Nepal published a new political map which showed three Indian Territories – Limpiyadhura, Kalapani & Lipulekh as part of Nepal.
ii.During his visit, Pradeep Kumar Gyawali
- Participated in the 6th India-Nepal Joint Commission Meeting
- Attended meeting with Indian External Affairs Minister (EAM), S Jaishankar
- The two sides held discussions on Bilateral trade, energy, border disputes & COVID-19 assistance.
iii.Gyawali was accompanied by Nepal’s Foreign Secretary Bharat Raj Poudyal & Laxmi Aryal, Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Population.
6th India-Nepal Joint Commission Meeting:
The 6th India-Nepal Joint Commission was co-chaired by EAM Jaishankar & Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nepal, Pradeep Kumar Gyawali.
i.The meeting also included Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Foreign Secretary of India & Bharat Raj Paudyal, Foreign Secretary of Nepal among others.
- Both sides discussed areas of cooperation in the fields of connectivity, economy & trade, power, oil and gas, water resources, political and security issues, border management, tourism, education, culture and capacity building.
- India assured Nepal that it would deliver its two Indigenous COVID-19 vaccines – Covishield & Covaxin to combat the pandemic in Nepal.
ii.They noted the milestone achieved by Motihari (Bihar)-Amlekhgunj (Nepal) Petroleum products pipeline, which is the first cross-border petroleum products pipeline in South Asia.
- Discussion on expansion of the pipeline to Chitwan (Nepal) & Establishment of new pipeline connecting Siliguri (West Bengal, India) to Jhapa in Nepal was held.
iii.India will undertake construction of two cultural heritage projects in Nepal – Pashupatinath Riverfront Development & Bhandarkhal Garden Restoration in Patan Durbar with Grant Assistance.
- Other points of discussion were
- Welcoming of completion of 1st passenger railway line between 2 countries from Jaynagar (Bihar) – Kurtha (Nepal)
- Discussion on future probable cross-border rail connectivity project – Raxaul (Bihar)-Kathmandu (Nepal) Broad Gauge railway line.
- Commencement of Construction of Third Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Nepalgunj on Nepal side & Rupaidiha (Uttar Pradesh) on the Indian side.
- Discussions to increase the speed of Joint Hydropower Projects which includes the proposed Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project, located on the river Mahakali in India-Nepal Border.
- They also agreed to increase the speed of work for 400 Kv Butwal (Nepal)-Gorakhpur (India) Cross-border transmission line.
v.The 2 sides also exchanged views on International, regional and sub-regional cooperation.
- Nepal expressed its support for India’s permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
- India expressed readiness to provide training to Nepal Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Relief (HADR) and help in its capacity building.
- The next Joint Commission meeting will be held in Nepal on a mutually convenient date.
Review of Peace & Friendship Treaty of 1950:
i.Both sides also discussed reviewing the Peace & Friendship Treaty of 1950, air entry routes & boundary matters.
- The treaty allows free movement of people and goods between the two nations and a close relationship and collaboration on matters of defense and foreign policy.
- It was signed at Kathmandu, Nepal on 31st July, 1950 by the last Rana Prime Minister of Nepal Mohan Shumsher Jang Bahadur Rana & Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Chadreshwar Narayan Singh.
ii.The two sides also agreed for early conclusion of the review of Treaty of Trade, Treaty of Transit & amendments to Rail Services Agreement with a view to strengthen cooperation in the respective fields.
India, Nepal Rail connectivity:
i.The 34.90 Km Jayanagar (India)-Kurtha (Nepal) rail connectivity will be extended up to Bijalpura in Nepal, which is 17 kms from Kurtha by March 2021.
- Indian Government has spent nearly INR 550 Crores for the extension.
- The project is being undertaken by IRCON International Limited (formerly Indian Railway Construction Limited)
- 2 sets of 1600 HP DEMU (Diesel Electric Multiple Unit) passengers were handed over by India to Nepal for operationalization of rail services, the coaches were supplied by Konkan Rail Corporation Limited (KRCL). This will be the first Broad Gauge passenger rail service in Nepal.
ii.After Bijalpura, a new line will be constructed till Bardibas in Nepal.
Recent Related News:
i.November 7, 2020, Indian Army Chief General MM Naravane visited Nepal from November 4-6, 2020 to strengthen overall ties including in areas of defence and security between India and Nepal.
ii.On May 19, 2020, Amidst the border dispute with India, Nepal’s cabinet has accepted a new political map showing Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura under its territory.
Prime Minister – K. P. Sharma Oli
Capital – Kathmandu
Currency – Nepalese Rupee (NPR)